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After saying he would return to Florida State if NFL evaluations weren’t favorable, Deondre Francois is returning to FSU

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In mid-December, reports surfaced that Deondre Francois would be leaving Florida State, either as a graduate transfer or as a member of the 2019 NFL Draft pool.  However, after catching wind of the reports, the quarterback pushed back against the transfer speculation by stating that he will return to the Seminoles for his final season of eligibility if the NFL evaluations he’s seeking were not favorable.

A month later, it appears the NFL evaluations weren’t favorable as 247Sports.com, citing multiple sources, is reporting that “Francois is with the team and is enrolled in classes for the spring semester.” An FSU spokesperson also confirmed to the Tallahassee Democrat that “Francois remains a member of the football team heading into the spring semester.”

After winning ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 2016, Francois suffered a season-ending knee injury against Alabama the following year.  Francois was the starter for the vast majority of the 2018 season, missing one game in early November because of a concussion.  In his 11 starts as a redshirt junior, he completed just over 57 percent of his passes for 2,2731 yards, 15 touchdowns and a dozen interceptions.

If Francois remains at FSU, he would be working with a new offensive coordinator after Kendal Briles was hired away from Houston late last month.  He will also likely compete with James Blackman, who started the one game Francoise didn’t, for the starting job.

There’s certainly the possibility that, if Francois exits spring practice behind Blackman on the Seminoles’ depth chart, he could opt to take the grad transfer train out of Tallahassee.

Florida State-Notre Dame game in 2021 moved up to Labor Day Sunday

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While all of the focus is on the 2020 season — and rightly so — Florida State and Notre Dame are peeking ahead to the following campaign.

Back in 2014, as part of the football independent’s scheduling agreement with the ACC, it was announced that Notre Dame and Florida State would square off on Sept. 6 of 2021.  That just happens to be the date on which Labor Day falls next season.

Tuesday, however, the Seminoles confirmed that the game versus the Fighting Irish has instead been shifted to Sept. 5.  That’s the Sunday before the holiday and the day after the first full weekend of the 2021 football season.  At this point, it’s unclear exactly why the date of the game was changed.

The game, which will be played in Tallahassee at Doak Campbell Stadium, is expected to be played in primetime.  A time and television network will be announced at a later date.

Florida State and Notre Dame have met nine times previously, with the first coming in 1981.  The most recent meeting was in 2018.  The most famous of the nine?  The 1993 matchup that saw No. 2 Notre Dame knock off No. 1 Florida State in South Bend.

The Seminoles have won six of the nine meetings in the series.  In four of those matchups, both teams were ranked in the Top Ten.

LSU LB Marcel Brooks is reportedly transferring to TCU

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It appears TCU has landed one of the more intriguing football transfers on the market.

Following a late-June conversation with the LSU coaching staff, Marcel Brooks entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  It was thought at the time that the Lone Star State native would likely head back closer to home.

Tuesday, that’s close to becoming a reality as 247Sports.com is reporting that Brooks will transfer into the TCU football team. In fact, according to the website, the linebacker was on campus Tuesday and “will be able to start working out with the team as soon as he passes a physical.”

Thus far, the TCU football program has not confirmed Brooks’ addition to the roster.

It’s expected Brooks will have to sit out the 2020 season to satisfy current NCAA bylaws. That would then leave him with three years of eligibility starting in 2021 to use with the Horned Frogs.

Brooks was a five-star member of the LSU football Class of 2019.  The Flower Mound, Tex., native was rated as the No. 2 outside linebacker in the country.  He was also the No. 5 prospect regardless of position in the state of Texas.  The only two signees in the Tigers’ class that year rated higher?  Freshman All-American cornerback Derek Stingley and running back John Emery.

As a true freshman, Brooks appeared in 11 games in the run to the national championship.  He was credited with eight tackles and 1½ sacks.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including a records release that showed Jim Tressel had history of compliance issues

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The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 15, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Lincoln Riley: Jalen Hurts must win starting job at Oklahoma
THE SYNOPSIS: In a stunning turn of events, the Alabama transfer did just that.  And finished second in the voting for the 2019 Heisman Trophy.

2019

THE HEADLINE: Ryan Leaf joins ESPN’s roster of college football analysts
THE SYNOPSIS: This was the latest step in the former Washington State quarterback turning his life around.  Less than a year later, however, Leaf was arrested on a domestic battery charge.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Kentucky gets in on offering scholarship to middle schoolers in a big way
THE SYNOPSIS: I don’t care who does it, this is creepy.  Still.

2016

THE HEADLINE: USC to name starting QB two weeks before opener vs. Alabama
THE SYNOPSIS: Max Browne ultimately won the job… and held onto for all of three gamesSam Darnold took over in September of that season, and went on to be a high first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.  Browne, meanwhile, transferred to Pitt in December of 2016.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Michigan’s Nike deal easily surpasses every other public FBS school
THE SYNOPSIS: That 11-year, $169 million deal was subsequently surpassed by UCLA’s 15-year, $280 million apparel agreement with Under Armour.  That deal, though, is currently hanging by a thread.

2014

THE HEADLINE: The best lines from Steve Spurrier’s SEC media day press conference
THE SYNOPSIS: Talkin’ season always brings out the best in the Ol’ Ball Coach. To wit: “It’s a shame that Texas and Texas A&M don’t play anymore. I think that’s sad. Florida plays Florida State. We play Clemson.”

2011

THE HEADLINE: New records release shows Jim Tressel had history of compliance issues
THE SYNOPSIS: This wasn’t exactly a stunning development, given the circumstances that led up to the Sweatervest’s Memorial Day “resignation” at Ohio State two months prior.  Or Pryor, as the NCAA case may be.

2019 finalist Justin Fields highlights preseason Davey O’Brien watch list

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The Davey O’Brien Award is next up as watch list season is in fall swing.

The Bednarik Award opened the proceedings Monday.  A day later, the Davey O’Brien Award released a preseason watch list that includes 30 of the top quarterbacks in the country.  And, according to the award’s press release, “new transfers were eligible to be included for the first time in the award’s history.”

Justin Fields of Ohio State, a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award in 2019, is among the players on the watch list. Fields is joined by seven semifinalists from last year: Baylor’s Charlie Brewer, Shane Buechele of SMU, Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, Brock Purdy of Iowa State and Memphis’ Brady White.

The Big 12 and SEC both landed five watch listers, the most of any single conference.  Both the ACC and Big Ten placed four apiece in the group, while the Pac-12 has two.  With three, the AAC leads all Group of Five leagues.

Fourteen seniors, eight juniors and eight sophomores combine to make up the list.

Below are all 30 members of this year’s watch list.

Hank Bachmeier, Boise State, So., 6-1, 200, Murrieta, Calif.
Ian Book, Notre Dame, Sr., 6-0, 206, El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Alan Bowman, Texas Tech, So., 6-3, 210, Grapevine, Texas
Charlie Brewer, Baylor, Sr., 6-1, 206, Austin, Texas
Shane Buechele, SMU, Sr., 6-1, 207, Arlington, Texas
Jack Coan, Wisconsin, Sr., 6-3, 221, Sayville, N.Y.
Sean Clifford, Penn State, Jr., 6-2, 219, Cincinnati, Ohio
Dustin Crum, Kent State, Sr., 6-3, 201, Grafton, Ohio
Micale Cunningham, Louisville, Jr., 6-1, 200, Montgomery, Ala.
Jayden Daniels, Arizona State, So., 6-3, 175, San Bernardino, Calif.
Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Sr., 6-3, 230, Austin, Texas
Justin Fields, Ohio State, Jr., 6-3, 228, Kennesaw, Ga.
Dillon Gabriel, UCF, So., 6-0, 186, Mililani, Hawai
Donald Hammond III, Air Force, Sr., 6-2, 220, Hampton, Ga.
Sam Howell, North Carolina, So., 6-1 1/4, 225, Indian Trail, N.C.
Mac Jones, Alabama, Jr., 6-2, 205, Jacksonville, Fla.
D’Eriq King, Miami, Sr., 5-11, 195, Manvel, Texas
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, Jr., 6-6, 220, Cartersville, Ga.
Levi Lewis, Louisiana, Sr., 5-10, 190, Baton Rouge, La.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M, Sr., 6-3, 217, San Antonio, Texas
Tanner Morgan, Minnesota, Jr., 6-2, 215, Union, Ky.
Jamie Newman, Georgia, Sr., 6-4, 230, Graham, N.C.
Bo Nix, Auburn, So., 6-2, 207, Pinson, Ala.
Brock Purdy, Iowa State, Jr., 6-1, 212, Gilbert, Ariz.
Chris Robison, Florida Atlantic, Jr., 6-1, 200, Mesquite, Texas
Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State, So., 6-1, 199, Denton, Texas
Kedon Slovis, USC, So., 6-2, 200, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Zac Thomas, Appalachian State, Sr., 6-1, 210, Trussville, Ala.
Kyle Trask, Florida, Sr., 6-5, 239, Manvel, Texas
Brady White, Memphis, Sr., 6-3, 215, Santa Clarita, Calif.